Give A Person A Stick To Aid Them Ambulatory And They Normally Use It Give It To An African American Baseball Player And He’s Liable To Beat You With It ……………
At a time when Major League Baseball (MLB) is about to celebrate one of its most hallowed anniversaries. Instead the talk is of there still being ” racism” within the sport. This upcoming Saturday the game will celebrate the “63 rd anniversary” of the day that Jackie Robinson became the first African American to have donned a uniform in major professional team sport. The now famous Hall of Fame player suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers under the then team general manager Branch Rickey .
Slideshow for your perusal
Come full circle and it appears that the game is still intent on inflicting itself with even further wounds. The game is now integrated and there are African Americans at prominent and various positions in the upper echelons of the sport. The one thing however , that the sport has yet to see, is that of an African American “owner” within the game of baseball. As to the reasons why that has yet to happen , neither Commissioner Bud Selig or President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) Bob DuPuy has a comprehensive answer for. And it’s not as if we’ve seen the game’s hierarchy have actually tried to gauge the interest as to the possibilities of that happening. If anything , that might well be the one the many failings under Bud Selig’s tenure as baseball commissioner. God knows his failings have been many and magnified !
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
By Jeff Passan , Yahoo Sports
The talk today was supposed to be about Jason Heyward and Justin Upton >and Andrew McCutchen , about the future of African-American ballplayers. But it can never be that easy with Major League Baseball, where the misdeeds of generations past haunt the sport, ghosts incapable of exorcism.
The talk today is about Orlando Hudson and Jermaine Dye , about their beefs with baseball – about racism and whether, exactly 63 years after integration, prejudice still courses through the game while every player honors Jackie Robinson by wearing his No. 42. It might. It might not. Hudson thinks it does, and he is not an unreasonable man, and even if his sentiment is misguided, it is important because it forces baseball to confront genuine issues instead of simply pouring more money into the Reviving Baseball in Inner cities (RBI) program and Urban Youth Academies like they’re the entire solution rather than a fraction.
Throw aside, for a moment, the hand-wringing over how much money Dye deserves or whether Hudson has been underpaid and consider something more important to the game’s future: the black experience, in life, in sports and otherwise. No matter how much baseball honors its black forefathers and tries to ensure generations more, it is not football and not basketball – not a sport whose existence depends on African-American men – and so the feeling of disposability is palpable.
When a black ballplayer walks into a clubhouse, he will see, on average, one other black player. This is the black experience in baseball today: near solitude. Even in the most color-blind world, people derive identity from their skin – from their history – and to think it doesn’t matter is naïve. It does, deeply, especially in a place where so few African-Americans congregate.
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With the game’s initiative of making the sport more appealing and amenable to the African American community amongst the young male demographic. It has to be said that the program is one of an uphill battle. Young African American males are now more inclined to be lured by the NFL and the NBA than they are by anything that baseball and “its hierarchy” is said to be doing in trying to lure “them” to take an interest in the game from an amateur level from grade school all the way up to the collegiate level.
Though we’ve seen baseball put into place the Reviving Baseball In The Inner Cities (RBI) program within major inner cities and blighted urban areas as a way of entertaining the idea of having young children be introduced to the pleasures of the game. The statistics bearing out the success of the program amongst young black males , much less minorities as a whole hasn’t proven to be emphatic or a conclusive success. In many respects it’s like throwing good money after bad in trying to prove “a mute point” ! The decline of baseball as an interest amongst African American males is on the rise and the fault lies not only within the upper echelons of MLB but also within rank and file players as well as the MLBPA (union), itself. And though a number of prominent African American major league players have been part of the initiative. Though it is not as if there has been an a great deal done to publicize the fact in either the print or the television media. The players have been been paraded up and down the country within the various school systems and recreational facilities either have been built or refurbished. But the straw that has broken the camel’s back , has been the ” millions of dollars” spent by major league baseball and a number of ball-clubs in Latin America and the Caribbean to open up academies there, to tap into the vast wealth of talent available . Much of this has been to the chagrin of players such as Gary Sheffield , Torii Hunter and Orlando Hudson .
My problem with this all has been the fact that with players such as Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield being the ‘poster children’ for the abuse that has taken place concerning the “steroid era” . Such prominent stars as this ,are a reminder as to one of the reasons why many young males might not be totally enamored with the sport. Never mind that the financial rewards available with the NBA and NFL is far greater than that of major league baseball. For every Alex Rodriguez , Derek Jeter , or Mark Teixeira said to be earning in excess of $20 million per year. The reality is, that the marketability of the players has been limited in many areas. Perhaps Jeter is the only player in all of baseball with the “marketability” that can be compared to the likes of a Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , LebBron James , Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade .
Now as this hallowed anniversary approaches , what we’re now seeing from a number of players within the game is one of animosity and the mere fact that apart from there being less visibility in terms of the number of African American ball players within the game. You also have the fact that their profile is also on the decline. And while there’s much promise to be had from young performers such as B. J. Upton, Jayson Heyward and Andrew McCutchen , who just happen to be young African American players. Whether or not their stars will shine brightly is after-all dependent upon their productivity and they success that they are able to attain over the course of their careers. The marked difference between this triumvirate and the arrival of Jackie Robinson unto the major league baseball scene . It is that while they are now openly embraced by the fans. In the case of Jackie Robinson , he wasn’t embraced by the vast majority of the fans, players and in some cases the very teammates that he played alongside. But in this day and age you have the likes of Sheffield , Hudson and Hunter whining like bitches and seemingly forgetting the torment and abuse that Robinson had to endure . And less we forget , it was no bed of roses either for Hank Aaron , as he approached “breaking the home run record” that then belonged to Babe Ruth .
Hank Aaron hits home run 715 to move pass Babe Ruth in the homerun all-time list. The record has since been surpassed by Barry Bonds formerly of the San Francisco Giants – with his 762 home runs.
Primadonna athletes such as Hudson , Hunter and Sheffield are “a dime a dozen” ! . You have to have a “semblance of class” to show your true worth. The only “class” they’re now said to be showing is the act of “being classless” , “disrespectful of the past” and of the game’s heritage and legacy ! It is not as if either has gone out of their way to be part of the game’s initiative to lure youngsters into the game. Much of their display is solely down to the fact that they want “theirs” and “they” want it now !
Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………..
Tina Turner …………..“We Don’t Need Another Hero”